A review of Disaster Fitness: Make Your Demons Do the Work, by Ann Sterzinger and Ann Hedonia.
By Keith Preston
I confess to having never been a fan of so-called “self-help” books. Mostly, these kinds of works have always struck me as having goofy titles and charlatans for authors, and nothing of any real value. Some years ago, I was involved with a company where my division head used to hand out copies of Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, a quasi-Christian work written in 1952, for Christ’s sake (no pun intended). It was a book my supervisor seemed to think was vitally important for his staff members to read. The same guy used to hand out copies of books by Joel Osteen (WTF?). Most self-help books are based to some degree on the model that Peale made a fortune from in the mid-twentieth century. Just throw out a lot of cheery-sounding sloganeering, combined with some quasi-Christian or quasi-Buddhist or hippie New Age nonsense, plus some basic common sense ideas that everyone over the age of fifteen ought to be able to figure out anyway. Do all this while claiming to possess some special path to financial success, spiritual enlightenment, and good health, and you’ve got an instant best-seller so long as you’re willing to pay for advertising space in the National Enquirer.